RANDOLPH TWP. – “Junior Engineering” is a grade period cycle course offered to eighth graders at Randolph Middle School interested in technology and engineering.
Junior Engineering, according to a statement released by District K-12, focuses on civil, mechanical and structural engineering design concepts. Through an interdisciplinary approach, students develop and enhance their engineering knowledge and apply problem-solving, creative, and technological skills to create real-world solutions.
Upon completion of this course, students gain a fundamental understanding of the engineering design process, bridge design, projectile movement, and transportation technology. Plus, they experience the real-world research and communications needed to succeed in an increasingly technological world.
In teacher Nick Lavender’s junior engineering course, students competed on “Randolph Raceway” after designing vehicles based on the engineering design process. Before creating their vehicles, the students studied aerodynamics and the forces that affect the vehicle’s airflow. When designing their “dragsters”, the main objective of the students was to limit the drag of their vehicles in order to improve the overall performance of their vehicle. Incorporating the various stages of the engineering design process, the students developed 2D design sketches and polystyrene prototypes before completing their balsa wood dragsters.
To create the balsa wood dragsters, students were able to practice workshop safety successfully using woodworking equipment such as the drill press and mini bandsaw. After completing the 17-step design process, over a period of approximately 10 days, they were ready for the “Randolph Raceway Challenge”.
Jack Kielbania won the competition after passing several other dragsters in multiple heats.
“I designed my dragster in a shovel shape with a bigger back because I knew it would impact how fast my design would accelerate. My goal was to go the fastest,” he said. he declares.
“It took me about a week and a half to design and build, and throughout the process I learned that the most important thing for a car to work is that the vehicle can stay on the ground while it accelerates. Acceleration plays a key role in this, and I also learned many other things that impact the physical stability of a car. It was a really fun project!
Lavender used the project to coordinate an educational opportunity for students that was both educational and entertaining. The students had a great time learning aerodynamics and creating their dragsters, according to the district.